In today’s post: Learn how to make a cool explosion box full of photos and notes for a fun DIY gift.
Last week my husband and I celebrated our twentieth wedding anniversary. We aren’t usually big on celebrating anniversaries (in fact we both forgot our anniversary last year!) but since this is a big one we’re planning a trip to Costa Rica in a few months. I am so excited and so nervous, so if you’ve ever been to Costa Rica tell me all about it in the comments! Because we have the trip coming up, we weren’t going to buy gifts this year, so instead I made him an explosion box full of photos.
DIY Explosion Box
An explosion box is made from sheets of cardstock that nest inside each other. When it’s folded up and the lid is on top, it looks like a normal gift box.
But when you take off the lid the layers “explode” to reveal photos, notes, and other decorations. I’ve seen lots of explosion boxes online, but had never made one of my own before. It was really fun to put together.
An explosion gift box looks complicated, but it’s actually not that hard to construct. I’ve created a printable cutting and scoring guide for you that will tell you how big to make each layer. The cutting guide also comes with a template to make the hearts in the corners of the base layer. Additionally, I have a printable template for the lid to minimize the amount of measuring you need to do. Finally, I’ve made a step-by-step instructional video so you can see exactly how to put it all together.
Explosion Box Video
Photos don’t really do an explosion box justice, so if you’d like to see my box in action, you can start by watching this quick video:
Explosion Box Supplies
To create an explosion gift box, you’ll need the following supplies:
- 12×12 inch solid colored cardstock (one for each layer)
- 12×12 or 8.5×11 inch printed cardstock (for the lid)
- Paper trimmer with scoring blade OR another way to trim + score cardstock
- Embellishments (optional: this is a good time to pull out any scrapbook supplies you have tucked away!)
Explosion Box Printable Templates
Before you begin, you’ll want to print the following:
Explosion Box Lid Template (print directly onto the back of your lid cardstock)
Be sure to print each of these templates at 100% or full size. There’s a test square on each one that should measure exactly 1 inch.
The Cutting Guide gives dimensions for up to 7 layers for your box. I made my box with 3 layers, using the dimensions highlighted in yellow on the guide. But you can include as many layers as you’d like in your box! A seven layer box would allow you to include LOTS of photos, notes and other memorabilia.
Please note that the Cutting Guide shows two numbers for each layer: the first number tells you how big the sheet of cardstock should be (square). The second number tells you how far from each edge you will measure in and score. It also includes cutting dimensions for the lid in case you don’t want to use the printable template.
Explosion Box Instructional Video
All the instructions for making your own explosion gift box are included in the video below. (If you cannot see a video, that’s probably because you have an ad blocker on. Either turn off your ad blocker or whitelist this site in order to be able to view the video. You will have to watch a short advertisement before the video will load – annoying, I know. But these ads allow me to continue providing hundreds of tutorials and videos free of charge. Thank you!)
Decorating your Explosion Box
Once you have the box put together, this is what it will look like:
Lots of areas to decorate! I chose to keep my box fairly simple, just adding photos, notes, and a couple of premade notecards from scrapbook section of the craft store, but you can be as elaborate as you’d like.
For my photos, I cut them 1/4 inch smaller than the “score” measurement for each layer. That means the photos on the bottom layer are 3.75 inches square, the ones on the middle layer are 3.25 inches square, and the ones on the top layer are 2.75 inches square.
I added a couple of “interactive” elements in my box as well. I folded a strip of cardstock accordion style. It can be opened up to reveal small photos of each of our kids.
I also cut another strip of printed cardstock and folded it around some old photos of me and my husband that I printed out at wallet size. I tied it with twine and glued the whole thing onto the base layer of the box.
You can add as many (or as few) interactive elements as you’d like. You can find lots of videos and tutorials online that will give you ideas. This tutorial shows lots of different boxes, pockets, and other interactive elements along with cutting and folding dimensions. This video doesn’t include a tutorial, but gives LOTS of fun ideas.
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